Cultural Guide on
How to Do Business With
The Chinese


the World




If there’s a nation that enjoys negotiations, it is China. Foreign businesspeople can feel confused and frustrated by the process, but once they’re familiar, they might even enjoy it. Get as much information as possible about the company. Know the key players and their personal objectives. Once you’re at the negotiation table, be patient. The Chinese expect a long negotiation and if they perceive you’re in a hurry, they will use it in their favor.   >>  MORE

North American-born Asians are an oddity.  Growing up in Vancouver's Chinatown did not prepare me for real life.

Vancouver artist Raymond Chow

I never felt much included by the WASP establishment in Canada, though I was part of the first family of Asians that made it Downtown as directors of The Vancouver Board of Trade, the Vancouver General Hospital Foundation, the Vancouver Food Bank and other mainstream organizations. 

To the first wave of visiting Hong Kong Chinese to North America after the Cultural Revolution in 1966, I was too much of a 'banana' (white on the inside, yellow on the outside).  For too many years, I was confused as to my identity.  Asians with a homogenous culture were confused by my western upbringing, which promotes individuality.

Not until after my working experience as a professional in the inner court of one of the world's wealthiest families, and my temporary transplantation to Hong Kong, did I realize the range of my rainbow experiences.  The opportunity enabled me to make profitable investments and contribute to the additional net worth to the billions already documented in the business world's list of big families.

Turns out that my value-add is in my ability to have Asian focus while operating well in a Western world.  As Asian wealth continues to increase in the next millennium, I believe these Asians will also increase their wealth in the west.   My experience taught me good deals are difficult to find any place in the world; it will be prudent investments that ensure the wealth of future generations. 

So many mistakes in business are rooted in miscommunication when, in fact, individual like myself who are experienced cross-cultural interpreters can see there is a meeting of minds but an inability to display the appropriate intent, due to cultural context of different systems.

This is an effort to define on anecdotal terms, the differences between East and West, with positive benefit for both as a goal.  After the changeover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule the Chinese Diaspora worldwide has spurred for the first time ever, a generation of western educated Asians who are well traveled and oriented to taking advantage of the newest technology and concepts.  Persons like youthful Richard Li, who brought MTV and English language television programs like BBC News to China and India with STAR-TV, the world's first satellite television network spanning from Teheran to Taiwan, Papua-New Guinea to Russia.  World wide deal making is norm that already sets the stage for global business in this millenium.  

I miss Asia for the excitement of the 'anything is possible' attitude but prefer the lifestyle in the West - the fresh air and open space especially.   Soulless materialism and aging demographics of the North American population is spurring an introspection and growth of spiritualism, which seems unprecedented.  There seems to be more talk of solutions in health and well being combining the practice of modern medicine together with holistic approaches to energy and flow.  Perhaps I am indicative of the growing awareness of Asians (and Westerners) in search of themselves.  The path to combine the best of East and West is a course set for me over 20 years ago when I selected all Asian Studies electives in my training for commerce at the University of British Columbia. 

Self-discovery and my own curiosity enabled the discovery of duality of combining East and West as a strength.  My collection of experiences has given me the reputation with Hong Kong tycoons for effecting profitable investments on three continents and a unique understanding of the Asian perspective. Seems that Asia's mysterious ways are not so mysterious after all.      - by Andrea Eng                                                               


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